thriller

The Last Superhero – Chapter 2

This is a WIP. Unedited, unbetaed, raw stuff. I’m also posting it on Wattpad.

Read Chapter 1

Chapter 2

It’s a week after the incident and I’m chatting with Daphne –my right-hand, store clerk, and all around guardian angel that has worked here for free for far longer than I care to admit– about hair colors. She’s punk and has purple and white streaks in her hair and keeps trying to convince me about dying mine any color I choose from the rainbow.

I’m trying to run a bookstore.” I reply.

Well, it’s not my bookstore, it’s my mother’s, but I’m the one that runs it for her thanks to people like Daphne that believe the written word isn’t dead.

Anyway, that’s another story.

Blue would look perfect on you.” She says, eying the customer that’s just walked in. “It might help us attract a younger crowd and less of those.” She nods the customer’s way.

I give a fright jump.

Oh fuck.”

What?” Daphne frowns. She doesn’t know.

She doesn’t know the old dude’s back and he’s here to kill me.

He glides through the bookshelves, like some cat.

Shit.

I’ll be outside.” I say, rush through the back door.

He’s on my tail and I hear Daphne trying to stop him.

He steps out and finds me.

I just want to talk.” He says, closing the door on poor Daphne.

It’s okay, Daph, I’ve got it!” I cry, praying it makes it through the door seams and to her. Address him, “you don’t want her calling the police.”

He opens the door again and there’s Daphne holding her mobile to her face.

It’s okay.” I tell her, my arms crossed over my chest to hide my trembling. “He’s a friend of Mom’s.”

Oh.” Daphne lowers her phone.

I’ll be back in ten.”

She shuts the door.

This is it. This is where I die. Next to the dumpster. So classy.

Please make it quick.” My voice quivers, breaks. “And don’t let Daphne see my dead body, she’s squeamish.”

What?!”

Look, I didn’t tell the police it was you, just some Good Samaritan that then ran off. The surveillance cameras haven’t worked for years, so there’s no evidence.” It’s difficult to speak but I push through, at least let me explain myself before he kills me off.

His brows furrow, every time a little deeper.

The guy’s in the hospital. He has no family or anything so no one will miss him.”

He’s breathing hard.

And I think you should know I’m an only child and this bookstore is my mother’s, so maybe you’d like to dump my body somewhere they can’t find me.”

What the fuck are you going on about?”

You’re here to kill me, aren’t you?”

I’m not.” He looks around, exasperated.

What are you here for then?”

He brings his hands to his head. “This is fucked up.”

No shit.”

I’m not here to kill you and it wasn’t my intention to injure that man.”

It’s not like you haven’t done it before.”

His stare is so intense I step back and bump into the wall behind me.

What do you know about me?”

I feel my knees buckle, lean on the wall to remain vertical.

That your name is Steven Waldorf.”

What else?”

That…” Should I say it? He’s pressing me with those menacing hazel eyes… “You’re the last superhero to roam the Earth.”

His face falls for a second before he steps back, away from my quaking self.

I know too much and now he knows I know and he’ll do to me what they do to all the people that know too much.

I’m not here to kill you.”

I brave a glance at him and he’s standing next to the dumpster, his head down.

You’re not?”

No, I’m not. What made you think that?”

Apart from all the glaring and the sneering?” And the fact that I witnessed you almost murder someone.

He runs his fingers through his graying hair. “Look, I’m sorry I was rude to you.”

Are you even real?”

Of course I am.”

And you are Steven Waldorf.”

I go by Steven Dennis now.”

Oh.” A pause. “You’re supposed to be dead.”

Yes. And I would appreciate if you didn’t tell anyone that I am not.”

Okay.” Sure. Or you’ll kill me. I get it.

He’s about to say something but it dies in his throat. His face’s softened and, giving him a second look, he’s not that old, or bad looking.

It takes a depraved mind like mine to think such a thing in a moment like this.

Something drives me to talk, maybe it’s that same thing that made me get out of the car and read the plaque.

Step closer to the boogeyman so he can slash you straight.

Were you looking for something? Is there anything I can help you with?”

Now he softens further and there’s the ghost of a smile on his lips.

I came to buy more books.”

Okay. Follow me.”

Don’t touch him in case he’s startled and then kills you.

We walk back into the bookstore and I signal Daphne that all is okay. She gives Steven an ‘I’m watching you’ look that he doesn’t notice.

He’s got superpowers, yes, but not all of them. I think there’s a rule about that, you only get one or two, not more. He’s got telekinesis. It explains why the hobo flew through the air, he pushed him with his power.

We’re in the poetry section and I try to interest him in some crime novel that just came out.

Don’t read crime.”

Of course you don’t.

A long, elegant finger settles on a particular poetry compilation that happens to be one of my favorites and pulls it out.

The guy seems to know. “Great choice.”

Is it?”

One of my favorites.”

I’m regarded with a quirked eyebrow and a satisfied nod.

I must ask…”

No questions.”

And here I was thinking he’d softened.

Why am I following him, I don’t know.

Well, maybe because he’s the last fucking superhero in the fucking Earth and, right now, I’m the only one who knows he’s still alive.

When I turn around he’s staring at me.

Can you read my mind?”

That makes him burst in laughter.

Not funny.” I give him an about face and his hand lands on my shoulder, startling me.

Sorry.” He says.

Daphne’s checking on us from a distance.

It’s okay.”

Got any naughty thoughts you don’t want me knowing about?”

Is that humor? Must be.

Maybe.”

That amuses him.

I’m taking this one but only because you said it was your favorite.” He hands me the book.

One of my favorites. I’ve got many.” I lead the way to the register, where Daphne’s sitting.

She’s quick to slide off the stool and run for cover.

Then I shall come back for the rest.”

Am I getting hit on by a man twice my age? From murder to flirting. This is new and unheard.

He’s smiling, it makes him look less menacing. Almost nice.

Apart from the murder thing.

He pays, I bag the book, give it to him.

What’s your name, by the way?”

Giana.”

It hits him, something, don’t know what, then says, “Beautiful.” And it’s as if it physically hurt him.

A slight bow and he’s out. Out the door but not my mind.

What did he want?” Daphne approaches me.

I don’t know.” Is my reply and I have to shake it off. “I’m getting lunch.” Hit a button on the cash register and see there’s not enough.

I’ll get it.” She pats my shoulder and is off the same way Steven was seconds before.

I bend over and hit my forehead on the counter.

Fuck everything and everyone, dead, alive, or about to die.”

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Giving an old story a new chance

*Crossposting from my Tumblr*

Here goes something I’ve been working on for some time. It’s an old story some people may recognize, since I posted bits around, but now I’ve decided to rewrite it from scratch and think it’s going pretty well. This is unedited stuff, so beware of the typos and other things that may have slipped through the cracks.

The Last Superhero – Chapter 1

I’m sitting behind the counter ready to crack the cash register open and call it a night when the bookstore’s door opens, making the wind chime sing, and in comes this dude.

So fucking annoying, these customers that come in right before closing time.

I greet him, he doesn’t reply.

Make it quick, you dumbass.

But no, of course not, he strides leisurely through the bookshelves, taking his time.

“Looking for anything in particular?” I give a fake smile.

“No.”

Ugh.

I look at my watch and my stomach rumbles. That salad I had as a late lunch disappeared the moment it hit my trachea. Damn those things, it’s like eating water.

Push my glasses, hit the bridge of my nose.

“We’re closing in five.” I shoot his way. Better get on with it, dude, or I’ll kick you out.

He gives me a slight nod and goes on browsing.

Damn you.

There’s some leftover lasagna in my fridge, calling my name.

One look at the dude and I can tell he’s searching, not just browsing, like most people do. He knows what he’s looking for. If only he’d tell me I could help. He’s old, well not too old if you ask my mother, passing fifty maybe. The kind that still comes here, a select member of the small group of people that still read print.

He plucks two books from different shelves and brings them to me, pays for them and, without a word, leaves.

Asshole.

I open the cash register and give a quick glance inside. It’s not hard to count fifty bucks total. Put them in my pocket, get my purse, coat and scarf, and get the hell out of there before I collapse.

Lights off, lock the door, pull the gate.

“Give me the money, bitch!”

“What the fuck?!”

A punk, a blade, a set of bloodshot eyes. “Give me the money!”

“What money?! Dude! This is a fucking bookstore. We don’t make money, we lose money.”

He goes for my purse but I dodge him. “Shut up, bitch, and give me the fucking money!” A swipe of the blade in the air.

“Come on, man! I already told you I’ve got nothing! Bookstore equals bankrupt, you idiot. Take your anger somewhere else. Channel it somehow.” I manage to close the padlock by hitting it with the heel of my hand and it goes clunk.

“What the fuck?”

“I mean, you’re angry. Aren’t you? You’re angry with society, humanity, yourself, maybe even your family. Why are you doing this? Did you ever dream of ending up like this? Mugging people on the street?”

His eyes flick from right to left.

“I mean it, dude. Get a grip. There’s a place two blocks from here where you can crash, get a shower, have a hot meal, you know, help you get your shit together. This adrenaline rush isn’t worth it, nor is shooting stuff up your veins.”

“Fuck you.” He pounces, the blade almost reaching my neck.

I duck away from him and all I hear is a swooshing sound. The punk’s flying, fucking flying two or three feet above the ground and hitting the wall with an earth-shattering crash.

What. The. Fuck.

I look down at my hands, my legs. I didn’t do shit.

There’s someone wheezing behind me and when I turn I see him, the old dude, the customer. His bag with the books is lying on the floor and he’s doubled over, a hand against the wall.

“Sir? Are you okay?”

He waves a hand at me, dismissing me.

The vagabond is sprawled against the wall and there’s blood on it.

Damn.

“Sir. Please, let me help you.”

I try to reach the man trying to catch his breath as if he’d run a fucking marathon but he pushes me away.

“What did you do? Who are you?”

He sends me a menacing glance and I know I should leave it but I think he needs my help.

I grab his bag and go for his arm. He can hardly protest through what seems to be an asthma attack.

“Let me take you home, sir.”

He’s tall and heavy and pushes me down with every step but we make it to my car and I’m able to shove him inside.

I slide into the driver’s seat and pause.

“What the fuck happened back there?”

His breathing slows down yet he doesn’t look at me. He won’t even send me another glare.

I wait.

He blurts his address and we’re off. In silence. I won’t talk if he won’t talk.

And fuck me if I’m mute but when we reach our destination I knew it rang a bell. It’s some exclusive residential area with manor after manor stretching out a wider than normal street.

The dude’s loaded. Not that you’d tell from his clothes, maybe a bit from his face, but definitely not his clothes.

Once we reach the number he tries to bolt.

“Whoa. Let me unlock it first!”

I push the button and the things click, his sign to stagger out and shut the door with a bang.

I jump out, shout at his back, “A thanks won’t fucking kill you, you brute!”

He stops short of opening the gate, turns on his heels and strides back.

Oh fuck.

I’m at my door, across from him, holding on to the car in case the guy goes berserk.

He stops on the other side, sneers at me over the car’s roof.

“You didn’t see anything.” He snarls.

“The hell are you talking about?”

“Tonight. The thief.”

“Yeah, about that…”

He points a threatening finger at me. “Not. A. Word.”

Then it dawns on me. Oh my god does it dawn. The junkie flew through the air.

I narrow my eyes even though I’m trembling. “It’s you.”

There’s murder in his eyes. “I said: not a word!”

“But you’re dead.”

“And that’s how I’d like to remain. Now go before I change my mind.”

Oooookay. I’ve had enough creepy for one night.

I open my door and slide in. He rushes into the house and disappears.

I can’t make myself start the car. I can’t put the key in the ignition, it slips. This dude. This man.

It can’t be.

Some stupid kind of determination gets a hold of me. The kind that drives people to walk into a dark room to check on a weird noise and then the boogeyman gets them.

He’s going to murder me, I know.

“Fuck!”

I open the car door slowly, as if not to make too much noise, step out, gulp some air.

What the fuck am I doing? Getting myself killed, maybe?

A look at the house lit only by the light from the street lamps filtered through the many trees that surround it. It’s old, dilapidated, and the ivy that covers the walls isn’t just for the fancy effect it gives, the thing’s overgrown.

Then I see it, a plaque next to the gate through which he entered, covered by the ivy and mush. I pull my coat’s sleeve to cover my hand, to uncover the thing, to discover what lies underneath.

Waldorf Manor.

Oh. Shit.

Get back in the car and get the fuck out of there.

I’ve either just hit jackpot or written my own death sentence.

The Caregiver Series new covers and unveiling of Book 3’s.

The Caregiver Series new covers and unveiling of Book 3's.

What started as a standalone short story grew into a series. Now that the release of Book 3, THE BEAST, is only months away and book 4 is in the brainstorming phase, I believe the series needed a design overhaul and here’s the result.

Check out the covers of THE CAREGIVER and TORN live at the Kindle Store by clicking on the picture.

R-Day has come!

R-Day as in Release Day!

Cover for Torn, The Caregiver Book 2

When she pulled the trigger on her supervisor, Scarlett thought she was saving the life of the man she loves while at the same time freeing herself from her duties with the Interpol. She couldn’t have been more wrong.

Now a new boss has stepped in, assigning her to a mission that will reveal the truth of her recruitment with the agency and forcing her to fly to Puerto Rico to meet with her grandfather, world famous hit man, Adrian Lang.

For Armand, it’s the perfect wedding destination and an opportunity to help her mend her relationship with her grandfather. For her, it’s an open invitation for both friends and foes from the past to drag her back into the hell she fought so hard to leave behind.

Yet one question troubles her the most: Will her relationship with Armand remain unchanged after her past is exposed?

 

Now available for Kindle. Get it while it’s hot!

US: http://www.amazon.com/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

DE: http://www.amazon.de/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

FR: http://www.amazon.fr/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/Torn-Book-2-Caregiver-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

IT: http://www.amazon.it/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

JP: http://www.amazon.co.jp/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

ES: http://www.amazon.es/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

BR: http://www.amazon.com.br/Torn-Book-Caregiver-Series-ebook/dp/B00D3T7YKO/

 

Thank you all for your support!

Mother’s Day Sale! Free Books!

Get The Caregiver (Book 1) and my latest short story, At The Corner of Mars and Neptune, FREE for Kindle!

Cargiver Mars and Neptune Free Promo

The Caregiver will be free until May 13, At the Corner of Mars and Neptune will be until May 14. Yay!

And stay tuned for the release of Torn (Book 2 of The Caregiver Series)

Amazon’s international sites:

More info:

The Caregiver (Book 1 of The Caregiver Series)

Scarlett Lang always dreamt of becoming an Interpol agent. When her hard work pays off and she’s given the chance to work as an undercover agent with London’s biggest drug lord, Armand Sayer, she can’t help being ecstatic about it.

She’s employed by Armand’s sister (to aid in his recovery from a gun attack) as both caregiver and bodyguard. Her resourcefulness in both areas helps her win much more than Armand’s trust, to the dismay of both his right-hand man and her ex-boyfriend / colleague.

As she makes her way into the business she swore to help tear down, she’s faced with the dilemma of choosing between being loyal to her profession or her heart. And we all know it can’t be both.

At the Corner of Mars and Neptune (Stories About Love)

Lena is a female drug dealer. Noah is a police detective trying to solve a murder case to which Lena is the only witness. Thing is, she can’t remember a thing, and her life is too much of a mess for her to care. He cares, though. A bit too much. Enough to think that he can save himself by saving her. But the streets always claim what’s theirs.

Torn (The Caregiver Book 2) – Chapter 3

Cover for Torn, The Caregiver Book 2Another sneak peek! This book is being edited by the lovely Stacia Rogan (check out her website, she rocks!). This isn’t the final version of the text but I know I’ve kept you waiting for too long, so here it is. Enjoy!

Read Chapter 1, Chapter 2.

Chapter 3

Come on, scumbag. Blow that motherfucker’s head off!” My grandfather’s voice was always grave, always loud.

The famous Adrian Lang couldn’t drop the attitude for nothing.

I pulled the machine gun’s trigger. Ratatatatatatatatatatatatatatatat. Clickclickclickclick.

I shot him a glance. He was standing close behind me, sucking on a cigar as he walked towards the card and studied it.

So?”

You know better than talking to me like that.”

Anger made my face go red. For a moment I thought he’d stride to my side and slap me across the face, like he usually did. This time he stood his ground.

You’re not quite there yet.”

The machine gun felt hot in my hand. I looked down, saw my distressed jeans, and realized I was no more than sixteen years old.

He shifted towards me on the balls of his feet, his hand making a fist. Here it comes, I thought. However, before I knew it, the machine gun went off again. I couldn’t stop it as it shot a whole round directly into his belly, cutting him in half. Blood splattered the card and the floor as both his halves slid to the ground.

Nice one.” A voice came from behind, one that made my knees wobble.

Ferdinand —my ex-boyfriend, coworker at the Interpol, and messenger of my guilty conscience— was standing behind me, his eyes fixed on me.

Ferdinand? You’re dead.”

You just can’t help hurting the ones who love you.”

He hated me. You knew that.”

He shook his head slowly. “Not at all, Scarlett. Not at all.”

Then the machine gun went on again and…

I woke up with a jolt, gasping for air. I frantically surveyed the place with my eyes. It had been a week already and I was out of the intensive care unit and in a private, more comfortable room.

What the fuck?!” I tried to sit but my left wrist was bound to the bed.

Whoa!” Johanna jumped to my side. “You’re all right.”

I am not! I’m tied to this…” I trailed off as another face came to view, one that made me frown.

You were pulling on your bandages in your sleep.” Jimmy stood at the feet of the bed, one hand on his hip, pulling his suit jacket back and giving me a clear view of the gun holstered inside.

How long have you been here?”

And hour maybe? You were already bound so don’t go thinking it was my idea.”

I was worried you’d actually rip it off.” Johanna hastened to release me.

Once my hand was free I rubbed my wrist. The bandage around my right shoulder didn’t lend me much mobility, but it didn’t hurt as bad anymore. My left arm, on the other hand, didn’t hurt at all. The bed was already in an almost sitting position, so I just pushed myself up with my left hand while keeping my right arm close to my torso.

What time is it?”

Almost noon.” Jimmy answered before Johanna could even look at her watch. “I don’t have much time.”

I’m starving.” I said under my breath as I tried to pull the blanket over my chest.

I’ll see what I can do about that.” Johanna grinned at me, but I could tell Jimmy’s presence was unsettling for her.

That would be very nice of you.” I smiled back, trying to ease her. “Mr. Gordon won’t be here too long. Right?”

Not at all.” He looked annoyed.

Johanna nodded at him and scurried away.

Jimmy waited until the door was completely shut to stand on the spot Johanna had vacated and speak. “Got yourself a lackey?”

They let you bring your toys in here, Jimmy?”

I’m an agent. Remember? Heard Armand made it out alive. Is that true?”

So they say. I bet you knew about Romulus’ plan.”

No. I didn’t. Never thought he’d try to get Armand killed.”

Some people don’t take blackmailing lightly.” I avoided his glance and proceeded. “Are you here to arrest me or something? Bet the hospital is surrounded.”

It is, but, no. I’m not here to arrest you. Still undercover. Desmond is alive and giving orders from jail.”

Is that so?”

We’ve already had to deal with a lot of fallen men. But you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?”

Not a thing.”

He scoffed. “Armand’s forgotten about you so quickly? You’ve been here what? A week?”

He’s just waiting for the right moment to get me out of here.”

What makes you so sure?”

I twisted my head towards him and, even through the pain in my shoulder, held his stare. “What makes you think he won’t?”

Come on, Scarlett. You can’t possibly think he’s in love with you.”

Now that made me angry. “What the fuck, Jimmy? What did I ever do to you?”

I’m not here as a cop or as one of MacGowan’s henchmen.” His tone turned grave as he spoke through his clenched teeth. “I’m here as Ferdinand’s best friend. You hurt him, Scarlett; never forget that. He worried about you even when he knew you didn’t love him as much as he loved you. I’m here because he made me swear I’ll protect you if he was gone. He knew he’d die, he felt it coming. And even then, he only thought of you, of your safety. Is this how you repay him? Killing Romulus so you can run away with that bastard?”

You better not talk about Armand that way ever again.”

What are you to him, really? Any female agent we sent into that mission would’ve ended up in bed with him. Haven’t thought about that, have you?”

Fuck you, Jimmy. I don’t need this.” I tried to hit him with the back of my left fist but he caught my wrist midair.

No, Scarlett. You have to wake up. You’ve fucked yourself and I can help you.”

Fucked myself? More like saved myself.”

You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

We’re expendable, Jimmy. Never forget that. Romulus was a piece of shit.”

I tried to free my arm from his grip but before I could do anything the heel of his other hand connected with my right shoulder.

Aaaagh!” The pain made my eyes water as I jerked back, gasping for air. “Fuuuuuck!”

To this day I still ask myself what the hell it was Ferdinand saw in you.” He rummaged in his pocket for something, produced a photo, and held it to my face. “This is what he was saving you from. This is the reason MacGowan wanted to abduct you. And this is the reason you’ll be dead soon enough if you don’t accept my offer.”

I recognized Cisneros’ and MacGowan’s faces in the picture, yet it was the third one that made my insides churn, making me want to run for the bathroom and puke my guts out. Only that getting on my feet wouldn’t be an easy thing to do and I knew I wouldn’t make it on time if I tried. Measuring my options, I opted for swallowing hard.

That’s right.” Jimmy shoved the photo back into his pocket. “Xavi Pontevedra is in London and he’s here to kill you.”

This changed everything. Xavi Pontevedra, the man who had held me captive in a brothel during the Gibraltar mission, was out of jail, seeking revenge, while I was bound to a hospital bed.

There’s so much you don’t know, Scarlett.”

And you’re going to tell me?”

All in due time.”

Fuck off then!”

Jimmy left, leaving me huffing and puffing both from the pain and the desperation that overcame me.

At least he won’t get to me here with the police guarding this goddamn place, I thought as I pressed the nurse’s call button.

****

Torn (The Caregiver Book 2) – Chapter 2 + Cover Reveal!

The sneak peek you’ve all been waiting for, now with cover reveal!

Cover for Torn, The Caregiver Book 2

This book is being edited by the lovely Stacia Rogan (check out her website, she rocks!). This isn’t the final version of the text but I know I’ve kept you waiting for too long, so here it is. Enjoy!

Read Chapter 1 here.

Chapter 2

I woke to the sensation of something stuck inside my throat. I wanted to pull it out but my right arm was bound and when I tried to break free, it felt as if a knife went through the upper right side of my chest.

Easy! Easy!” A woman’s voice came out of nowhere. “You’re all right.” She soothed me. “I’ll get that for you.”

I coughed out the feeling of the tube being pulled out through my mouth, trying hard not to puke. It felt as if there was an anvil resting on my forehead. Breathing was hard, and I had to blink a couple of times in order to focus my sight on the nurse looking over me. She was pretty, with dark hair and caramel eyes.

Be calm.” She interrupted me when I was about to speak. “Your throat may hurt. Do you want to sit?”

Yeah, shutting up was probably a better option. I nodded and she helped me get into a sitting position before securing a nasal cannula around my head and under my nose. She then rearranged the blanket around my chest.

There were tubes and monitors all around me. A nice-looking, disinfectant-smelling intensive care room if you asked me.

I’ll get Dr. Williams.” Her smiling brown eyes shone under the dark fringe.

I managed to peek through the door when she walked out of the room and saw a man standing outside, dressed in black. I figured it would be a Met officer. The whole place must been flooded with Met, Interpol, SOCA… the whole lot.

All of a sudden everything was coming back to me. Armand being handcuffed, shooting Romulus… I felt my face get hot and had to blink back the tears.

Good morning, Miss Lang.” A doctor strode into the room, clipboard in hand, followed by the nurse. He was tall, with auburn hair tied back into a ponytail. “How do you feel?”

I’ve been better.”

My name is Dr. Williams and this is Johanna. She’ll be your nurse all the way through your stay here.” He checked my drips. “Are you in pain right now?”

A bit, yes.” I tried to push myself up but my left arm protested. “How long have I been out?”

A little over forty-eight hours. You were shot on your left upper arm, your right leg and the right side of your chest, where the bullet went through, exiting through your back. Both your left arm and right leg wounds will heal promptly since the bullets tore little muscle. The one on your chest is another story.” He and the nurse stood on each side of the bed. “Thankfully, it was a small caliber, but it did fracture your clavicle and shoulder blade. You were lucky it didn’t hit an artery.”

He took a pen out of his pocket, scribbled something on a paper, detached it from the clipboard, and handed it to me.

What-?”

Let me take a look at your stitches.” He crossed me, eying the piece of paper in my hand.

Armand is alive and well. He asks for you to be patient.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I turned to the nurse and she smiled.

The heat came back to my face. He was alive.

The doctor had set his clipboard on the bed and was looking intently at me, awaiting my answer.

Yes. Sure. Okay.” I let him uncover my wounded shoulder.

I reread the note before Johanna took it and threw it in a rubbish bin.

He’s one of our top donors,” the doctor whispered to my ear. “Funded most of our pediatrics burns centre.”

Armand the philanthropist. I can’t say I was surprised.

The instinct to turn my head towards him spiked a sting-like pain that rode from my shoulder up to my neck.

Ow.” I breathed.

Try not to do that. And keep your arm in the sling at all times. It’ll take some time to heal completely.” He replaced my bandages and set the sling back in place. “Your leg and arm will take less time.”

I bent my right leg at the knee and, yes, it didn’t feel as bad.

He grabbed the clipboard. “You will be transferred to a private room. Johanna will take good care of you.” He scribbled something on his clipboard again, this time it wasn’t for me to see. “Get some rest now. I’ll see you again tomorrow.”

As soon as he walked out of the room, Johanna produced a syringe from one of her pockets.

This will make you feel better in no time.” She said as she injected its contents into my IV.

What about George?” I bet she knew.

He’s with Mr. Sayer.” She disposed of the syringe before getting back to me. “Now try and get some sleep.”

They were both alive. The thought of it made me feel so much better. Or was it the meds?

I closed my eyes and tried not to think about anything.

But dreams don’t take orders from anyone.

****